Joel McLendon, longtime co-owner of The
McLendon Co. and The Gourmet Center in
Dallas, passed away on Monday, Feb. 27.
McLendon was born in 1913, and at age 98,
had worked until the day of his death.
A force in the housewares and tabletop industries, McLendon began his retail career at
Sears at the age of 16. At 18, he became the
youngest buyer and manager of any division.
From 1941 to 1947, he was employed by
John A. Brown Department Store as a buyer
and later as a merchandise manager. He
served in the U.S. Army during World War II
in Europe, where he developed his love for
fine food. After the war, he started his own
business, McLendon Wholesale Distributors,
which was the first housewares distributor in
the Southwest. McLendon had realized that
consumers would love to prepare their own
gourmet meals and enjoy entertaining. By 1955, McLendon moved into
one of the first showrooms at the Dallas Trade Mart, where the McLen-
don Company continues to operate under the direction of his son, Bob.
A gourmet guru, McLendon and the McLendon Company are credited
with helping hundreds of people open their own retail businesses.
For his work in the gourmet and housewares industries, McLendon
was named Rep of the Year by Entrée Magazine in 1982. He was also
chosen Entrepreneur of the Year in Texas in 1995, at the age of 83. He
is remembered by friends and colleagues as a Southern gentleman:
kind, generous and always respectful. McLendon also inspired Janis
Johnson, who in 1981 formed Gourmet Catalog & Buying Group. Following his death, Johnson said, “His optimism and positive attitude will
forever be remembered by those he mentored and nourished through
the various stages of their businesses. Joel left this world just as he
lived his life: peacefully and with complete grace.” McLendon was
preceded in death by his wife and longtime business partner Alma
McLendon. He is survived by son Bob and by his wife of 10 years,
Violet Ward McLendon, as well as grandchildren and great-grandchildren.
Noted Industry Icon Joel McLendon Dies
at age 98
California foie gras sellers, take note: On July 1, the production and
sale of foie gras will no longer be legal in California. California State
Senate Bill No. 1520 (SB 1520), referred to as the “California foie
gras ban,” prohibits force-feeding birds and the sale of any product “if
it is the result of force feeding a bird for the purpose of enlarging the
bird’s liver beyond normal size.”
The bill was signed into law by Governor Schwarzenegger on Sept.
29, 2004. Nearly eight years later, the ban will be enforced beginning
July 1, 2012.
Organizations in opposition of SB 1520 attempted to overturn the bill,
challenging its legal basis on grounds that the bill interferes with interstate commerce. U.S.-based foie gras producer Hudson Valley Foie
Gras has been working toward defining acceptable humane California
foie gras production standards, so the company would be allowed to
continue distribution of its product in California. As of now, it appears
the ban will be enforced.
Supporters of the California foie gras ban contend that the methods
used for producing duck and goose foie gras, specifically the process
of “gavage” (the French word for force-feeding), is inhumane and
constitutes cruelty to animals. Conversely, producers and consumers
of foie gras argue that ducks and geese do not have a gag reflex, are
accustomed to swallowing whole fish, and naturally consume large
amounts of food prior to migration.
According to online foie gras retailer Laurel Pine, founder of Mirepoix
USA’s Web site www.enjoyfoiegras.com, SB 1520 has the potential
for far-reaching impact. According to Pine, the text of the law, though
it specifically targets the production and sale of foie gras in the state
of California, could easily be used to introduce legislation aimed at
dismantling the farming of other animals.
SB 1520 authorizes police officers to issue citations of up to $1,000
per violation per day. California restaurants will be forced to remove
foie gras dishes from their menus, or risk getting fined. California-based Sonoma Foie Gras will need to shut down operations and move
their farm to another state. Online foie gras retailer Mirepoix USA,
formerly based in California, is now operating from Reno, Nev., in
order to comply with the new legislation.
Clock Running out for Foie Gras Connoisseurs